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The ABCs of Anti-locking Braking System

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ABS - Why is it so important?

If you drive on a regular basis, there are certain things you should be aware of about your car: How it runs, what systems it uses and some important functions. Yes. Why not? You should. It’s only going to help you. Considering that most cars nowadays come equipped with the best features, it’s good to learn how these systems work and learn, and clear some confusion or doubts you may have and be better prepared on the road when you are in the driver’s seat.

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And here, you are going to learn about the all-important ABS or anti-locking braking system.

 Anti Locking Braking System

What is it? What is an ABS?

ABS is a system wherein, by moderating brake pressure, it thwarts the wheels of a vehicle to get locked automatically during an emergency stop. It allows the driver to maintain control of the steering and stop in the shortest likely distance under multiple conditions by preventing the wheels from getting locked. Under normal braking conditions, both the normal brake and ABS will feel identical but you know that the ABS operation is active and has kicked in, when you feel a pulsation in the brake pedal which is accompanied by a clicking sound, and subsequently, there is a rise and fall in the height of the brake pedal.

The Idea behind ABS

Wheels get locked on wet and slippery roads or when you stop in panic. At such times, you tend to lose control and traction and this makes your vehicle spin. Yes. The main idea behind ABS is to help you sustain control of your vehicle by preventing the locking of wheels. As a driver, you won’t have control over the steering and vehicle when your wheels get locked and so turning it is no good. ABS prevents the wheels from locking and helps the car maintain control even if you cannot come to a halt in time.


You need to keep in mind that the braking distance needs to be increased when driving especially on slippery roads as this helps the ABS cycle react much faster. Speed is another factor – if you are driving too fast, then the inertia of the wheels will take over the ABS system.

Don’t panic – if ABS doesn’t work, the normal braking system is always there to assist you. The indicator yellow light present on the dashboard will turn on when ABS is not working.

What does an ABS System cover?

  • Wheel Speed Sensors –Determine acceleration and deceleration of wheel
  • Valves Pumps – Used to restore pressure to the hydraulic brakes
  • Hydraulic Motor
  • Controller – Controls the entire process

Let’s see what drives an ABS and its workings

The hydraulic system is pressurized when the driver of the car hits the brakes. This then causes the brake pads to pressagainst the disc which is why the car slows down. A pressure release valve in the hydraulic system is opened when the ABS system detects that one wheel is slowing down at a faster pace than the others (wheel lock) at this point, the brake pressure is automatically reduced on this wheel. This ABS system also has the capability to build-up pressure again with the assistance of the hydraulic motor. Depending on the make of the car, the ABS system can either act on the front wheels or all four wheels. ABS engages when it senses wheel locking and it will not be employed in normal braking conditions. Additionally, it won’t hamper the normal braking action. All in all, this system reacts very quickly and just in a matter of seconds.

Anti-locking Braking System

Stop - Get to Know your ABS

This is how an ABS system works in general. Everycaror carmaker has their own systems in place which make them unique and appeal to the end user. But overall, here we have just given you an idea of how the system works in general, how you can be prepared and be aware of what happens in the event and what you can anticipate – Having given you a walkthrough, we hope you have understood and followed how the ABS works. And what can we say; now you know one more important function about your car, the ABS.

If these kinds of articles interest you, or if you are looking for used car valuation, then Indian Blue Book has blogs and many such informative articles.

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